What can we expect from the National Infrastructure Strategy?
The Government have committed to responding to the National Infrastructure Assessment. Dods Monitoring’s Hugo Fulford explains what we can expect from the strategy.
The National Infrastructure Strategy (NIS) will be a test for the new Government to prove how serious they are about improving the UK’s productivity levels and closing the gap between the north and the south.
Following the National Infrastructure Commission’s (NIC) publication of their National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA) in July 2018, the Government committed to publishing an infrastructure strategy, which will formally respond to the recommendations of the NIA. In the September Spending Round the Chancellor Sajid Javid reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to publishing this strategy in the autumn and this was again confirmed in the Queen’s Speech.
Outlined in their interim response to the NIA in October 2018, the Government confirmed that the infrastructure strategy would “set out the Government’s priorities for economic infrastructure and respond in depth to the NIC’s recommendations.”
What is likely to be included in the National Infrastructure Strategy?
The Prime Minister has ambitiously pledged to “level up and unify the entire United Kingdom through better education, better infrastructure and technology.”
One scheme likely to feature in the strategy is a commitment to Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR), which Boris Johnson alluded to twice in his conference speech and a project the Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak said, “we’ve essentially green lighted.” It is unclear whether the whole project will be committed to (stretching from Liverpool to Hull) or just the section between Manchester and Leeds.
In the Queen’s Speech, the Government affirmed that another priority for the strategy would be measures to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, which the Government have already legislated for.
It is likely that measures will be introduced to further help the expansion of electric and autonomous vehicles and it is worth noting a DfT review into chargepoint provision across major road networks and an upcoming consultation announced by Transport Minister George Freeman MP about the future of mobility.
The NIA also recommended giving Metro Mayors and city leaders new powers with devolved infrastructure budgets. Sajid Javid confirmed, in his Conservative conference speech, the Government’s intentions to bring forward a White Paper on devolution. This was recommitted to in the Queen’s Speech. It is likely that other regions could be given similar powers to Andy Burnham, Mayor of Manchester, and Andy Street of Birmingham, with Boris Johnson in his speech to the Convention for the North stating that the Government intends to expand powers to Sheffield and Leeds and West Yorkshire.
Another area that the infrastructure strategy is likely to focus on is the… to view the rest of the article, along with a 1-month look ahead at key events around infrastructure, click HERE.